24-year-old Filipino expat donates kidney to save uncle's life in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi - When you care about someone, the pain is worth it, she says.
By Jasmine Al Kuttab
Published: Thu 12 Apr 2018, 5:07 PM
A 24-year-old Filipino resident has given her uncle a second chance at life by donating her kidney to him on Monday - making her one of the youngest kidney donors in the UAE. Arlene Maskarino told Khaleej Times that never did she hesitate to give a part of herself to her uncle, when she first heard the news that she was eligible for the kidney donation. "He is not just my uncle, he is also like a father to me and my best friend. We all lived in one house together and every time, I saw him suffering, I felt my heart aching," said Arlene, who works in the UAE as a customer service representative. Giving up one of her kidneys was not as much as a loss for the 24-year-old, than losing her uncle to kidney failure would have. "When the doctors told us that my uncle needed a Blood Type O donor, I immediately knew that I just had to do it," said Arlene. Her act of kindness has been an inspiration for her family members, who live in the UAE and in the Philippines. "My uncle was so happy and excited to have a second chance to live," added Arlene, who has been living in the UAE for the last three years. Even after the four-hour surgery (which successfully performed), Arlene's concern over her uncle's health condition lingers. She makes regular visits to his hospital room at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, which is only a few rooms down from her own hospital room.
Arlene, who said she is already feeling better, is expected to leave the hospital on Thursday, while her uncle is expected to be discharged this weekend. "I didn't really feel scared, because I love my uncle and care about him. If you really love and care about someone, then everything will be worth it; the pain will be worth it." "To just know that you are adding more years to the life of someone whom you love, and to just see them happy and healthy again - it makes any pain worth it," underlined Arlene, adding she is set to return to work in six weeks. Arlene's uncle, Lito Gerodias, said he will forever be grateful for his niece's life-saving gesture. He recalled his kidney failure ordeal, which he said was triggered more than 10 years ago. "I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2016, but I had issues with my kidney since 2008. I suffered an urinary trap infection and was advised to undergo a kidney biopsy at that time," said the 33-year-old accountant, who moved to the UAE 10 years ago. "I did not go for the biopsy, because I assumed that I was fine. I didn't think it was necessary as I didn't really feel ill." Today, Lito regrets that decision, with almost tearful remorse. "If one feels something is wrong in the body, one must get it checked. I regret not listening to what the doctor advised me 10 years ago, because it led to my niece donating her kidney to me." In 2016, Lito's blood pressure began to rise, despite his vigorous gym routine and healthy lifestyle. He often felt nauseous and suffered from chronic vomiting. Doctor's confirmed Lito's worst nightmare: He had chronic kidney disease and needed to undergo tedious dialysis treatment, or receive a new and healthy kidney. His kidney was functioning less than 15 per cent by now. Lito said that his 24-year-old niece instantly offered her kidney without anyone having to ask. "I was concerned because she was so young. I was afraid it might have an impact on her chances to conceive in the future, but the doctor assured us that everything would be fine." Lito pointed out that despite the rollercoaster of a journey, and although the dark chapter is over, it has truly been a life-changing lesson and is somewhat of a gift: "To never take life for granted." "I am very thankful to Arlene, for giving a part of her to me." "I still remember the time when we were having the meeting with the doctor who asked Arlene why she wants to give her kidney to me, and she simply said: "There is no reason, he is my uncle and I love him, so I'm giving him a part of me." firstname.lastname@example.org